A smallholding spread is served

Without wanting to sound too self-satisfied – am well aware there are many foods we are yet to produce and we’re growing only a fraction of what the garden could yield – I feel as if James and I reached a microholding milestone at the weekend. A big birthday celebration on Sunday for his mother Flo meant that we spent most of Saturday cooking (and attempting to make a very unkempt house vaguely presentable, which involved furious cleaning and moving piles of papers and assorted objects from place to place). But we didn’t have to buy a single piece of meat – despite making Quiche Lorraine, baking 50 sausage rolls, roasting a chicken and slicing a large ham.

20140711-072223-26543239.jpg It was all our home-raised pork and poultry. The pig is a magical animal, as Homer Simpson says, according to CL’s Food and Drink Ed Alison! You can do so much with it. And making a feast of a lunch to serve 11 guests gave us a particularly warm glow. James learned how to use the machine he’d bought some months back to mince shoulder and belly for the sausage rolls which I then made in batches – Tweeting Alison (@CLfoodie) when I noticed a significant amount of oozing from said savouries. Next were the meringues, whisked with our own egg whites, of course – they were turned into Eton Mess when I discovered they were too crumbly to hold up as a pavlova. We finished preparations at around midnight, but our efforts were well rewarded by the appreciative comments of James’s family the next day.

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After consuming a large amount of food, we all headed down to see the chickens – many of whom had contributed to the success of the spread (including our excellent layer Rhodie, below).

20140711-073645-27405626.jpgMuch to the amusement of his relatives, James had his usual cuddle with our young lavender Araucana Jeffrey, who clings onto this hands with his super-soft feet.

20140711-073904-27544070.jpg We also let the four Ixworth cockerels out to range freely around the garden. They’re a comic-looking bunch – having recently developed wonderful tufts at the back of their heads and an ungainly way of walking about.

20140711-080434-29074737.jpg They are also a ticking time bomb in terms of neighbourly relations; the nearest local residents live in a static caravan (with what I imagine are very thin walls) around only 20 foot from the cockerel coop. One of the boys has been tentatively softly crowing for around six weeks or so, but they are all beginning to join in to the rather tuneless and increasingly loud early morning  call. We might have to think about relocating the flock down the other end of the garden, if we can take the time out to build a house and run. But that won’t be happening this weekend as James is working part of Saturday and then, in the afternoon, we ‘re off to meet – and choose – our Oxford Sandy & Black piglets. Can’t wait to have little porkers running around the plot again!

My Tweets this week

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